ARRL Sections - West Texas

West Texas

West Texas

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Section Name:
West Texas
Bill Roberts, W5NPR
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Basic Information

West Gulf

West Texas Section News

July 3, 2014

News From Around West Texas


My apologies for running late on this issue of the West Texas News.  I purposely waited until after Field Day, then I was so wornout I needed at least a day of recuperation, then was tied up on other matters on Tuesday.  Yesterday I started on the News and was almost finished when my computer blinked, and my work was gone.  If it was an electricity interruption, then it wasn’t off long enough to interrupt electric clocks.  Anyway, I had to start over this morning from the beginning.  Sorry about the delay!

I had missed the rains that had fallen in the area until the week before Field Day, but received 1.77 inches in several showers, and it has finally greened up at my house 7 miles west of Alpine.  I hope it will continue. 


--- West Gulf Convention in Plano a Tremendous Success ---

HamCom in Plano, which is also the West Gulf Convention, and this year, one of the Regional ARRL Centennial sites, was a tremendous success.  It was well attended as would be anticipated, and I saw many familiar faces from the West Texas Section, the rest of Texas, and a few from out of state.  The usual convergence of Boy Scouts and their Scout Masters in uniform were in attendence, giving hope that many of them will be Ham Radio Operators and the future live blood of Amateur Radio.

The West Gulf Division Forum was informative and well attended.  John AE5B and Carla K5LRA Dyer received ARRL Presidents Awards for their many years of Service to the ARRL and the West Texas Section.  Congratulations to John and Carla!  

The presentation of West Gulf Division Awards also included two West Texas Section hams, as Sean Gardner KD6CUB of El Paso was named West Gulf Ham of the Year, and Lew Maxwell KB5HPT, also of El Paso, was named winner of the West Gulf Division Excellence Award.  Sean and Lew were not in attendence, and I will present their awards to them on behalf of Division Director David Woolweaver at the Sun City ARC Annual Auction on August 11th.  Congratulations to Sean and Lew!


 ---Wink High School Balloon Launch Subject of Midland ARC Program ---

I attended the Midland ARC June Monthly Meeting to hear the presentation by Cary Hannsz KG5ZBW, Wink High School Physics and Science Technology Teacher, on the recent balloon launch by his class in Wink.  The project which had been under preparation for much of the school year, was launched from Wink, reached an altitude of 76,890 feet, registered a temperature of –55 degrees Celcius while in the jet stream, with a maximum altitude temperature of –36 degrees Celcius and traveled 90 miles southeast to a point 4 miles south of McCamey, about a quarter of a mile west of Highway 305.  The payload which included ham radio for tracking purposes, camera, temperature, pressure and altitude measuring equipment was successfully retrieved.  There were many camera shots from the balloon during flight which really added to the presentation.  The program was interesting, well done, and I was happy to be in attendence.  Our hats are off to the Wink high School Physics and Science Technology class!!!

The Big Bend ARC plans to have Cary present the program to them also, possibly at their August second Tuesday club meeting.  


---Field Day in West Texas June 28th-29th 2014---

Field Day 2014 has just been completed and I think all of West Texas was blessed with good weather.  It may have been a liitle hot, but nothing to compare to the Field Day heat of 2011!  Propogation was good and all went well.  I was able to send Field Day Traffic to many of the West Texas clubs through the assistance of the 7290 Traffic Net, who held a special Field Day session on Saturday afternoon and the Big Bend Emergency Net on Sunday Morning.

The Big Bend ARC held their Field Day activities at the Double Diamond Pavilian 10 miles south of Alpine.  Our usual cooks for the event, Bob WA5ROE (inspite of hobbling around on a recently replaced knee) and Ike Roberts, prepared chicken, brisquet, cabrito, beans and all the trimmings.  They did an outstanding job.  We were pleased to have John and Carla Dyer in attendence at our Field Day!  

El Paso ARC and Sun City ARC held their Field Days at their club houses in El Paso, San Angelo ARC in a lot next to Sams, Midland ARC at Beal Park, and Abilene at Hamby Fire Station.

I hope all had a wonderful Field Day!!!


---ARRL Convention and Centennial Scheule begins Under Full Steam ---

To: All Radio Amateurs

The ARRL National Centennial Convention week kicks off in high gear with the World 

Radiosport Team Championship 2014 (WRTC2014) happening July 12-14 in Westborough, Massachusetts. WRTC2014 pits fifty-nine two-operator all-star amateur radio teams, representing 32 countries, in a battle of operating skill and strategy from identical locations and using identical antenna systems.

WRTC is held every four years, like the Olympics and the soccer World Cup. Previous WRTCs have been held in Seattle (1990), San Francisco (1996), Slovenia (2000), Finland (2002), Brazil (2006), and Russia (2010). teams were selected from 29 qualifying regions around the world based on scores in a series of 55 qualifying events over a 3-year period. Just earning a spot at WRTC2014 was a prestigious accomplishment for every competitor. The team with the best score during the 24 hour competition will claim the gold medal and earn the distinction of being “the best in the world.”

WRTC2014 volunteers will assemble 65 complete “Field-Day-style” stations consisting of a 40 foot tower, triband Yagi, tent, and generator, all within 72 hours! The teams will have Friday afternoon to set up their equipment and the race will begin at 1200 UTC on Saturday morning July 12.

Eleven ways you can join the fun and participate in WRTC2014:

1. Watch the 5 minute WRTC2014 intro video - 

2. Watch the “pregame” webinar on Sunday, July 6, at 1800 UTC. Register to attend at

3. Visit the WRTC2014 web site and read the profiles of the participants. You have probably worked many of them before! - 

4. Ham Nation visits with WRTC2014 on Wednesday evening, July 9, at 9pm EDST (Thursday 0100 UTC)-

5. Catch the live video streaming from the WRTC2014 headquarters hotel during social events and the Opening and Closing Ceremonies. See the video and schedule - 

6. Get on the air and work the teams! The WRTC2014 competition runs in parallel with the IARU HF Championship from 1200 UTC July 12 to 1200 UTC July 13. If you enjoyed a taste of HF contest operation during Field Day, here is a chance for more!

7. Each contact with a WRTC2014 team earns 5 points for the ARRL Centennial QSO.  The teams will all be using 1x1 call signs (see for the list) Print out the checklist and mark them off as you go.

8. Join the “WRTC2014 Chase” to see if you can work all 59 teams or the most band  modes. Details at What’s the best time? Check out the propagation forecast focused on WRTC2014 at 

9. Watch the live scoreboard. The scores of all teams will be visible in real time during the contest at 

10. Send your log in Cabrillo format to within 6 hours after the contest to become an Assistant Judge!

11. Watch the video streaming of the Closing Ceremony to see who won. 

If that’s not enough WRTC for you, attend the WRTC2014 wrap up presentation at 2pm on Saturday, July 19, at the ARRL National Centennial Convention!


Visit the web site at and look for the teams on the air. WRTC2014 will be a great start to your ARRL Centennial Convention week experience!


Randy Thompson, K5ZD

Co-Chairman WRTC2014


---Austin SummerFest Scheduled for August 1st-2nd---

Austin SummerFest and the Texas State convention will be held in Austin August 1st & 2nd at the Crown Plaza.  See information below:

August 1 & 2, 2014      Crowne Plaza      Austin, Texas

6121 North IH-35

NE Corner of IH-35N & US 290E 

Once again it's time for fun in the sun in central Texas as we make the Capital City the place to be in the middle of the Texas summer.  Come and enjoy old friends, the swapfest, and all the events at Austin Summerfest 2014, and the ARRL Texas State Convention.  And as always, we also host the Summer Meeting of the Texas VHF-FM Society. 

A meager $10 per-person admission fee at the door, or save $2 per person by mailing in an advanced registration (available at the link above) gets you access to all the forums, exhibits, and indoor swapfest action. 

Registration opens at 5pm on Friday, and 7am on Saturday.


---Silent Keys---

Wayne Floyd KK5XJ of Baird, Texas, became a Silent Key on June 4, 2014.

He was a member of the Key City ARC,  Abilene.  On behalf of myself and everyone in the West Texas Section, we extend our condolences and prayers to the families and friends of Wayne Floyd.

My appreciation to Ron Harden KB5HGM, who notified me by telephone and Peg Richard KA4UPA, who notified me by email of Wayne’s passing.


---Section Emergency Coordinator Report---

SEC Comments: The month of May 2014 was a VERY busy month of Emergency ARES work. Read below the report submitted by KE5CJ by Mike Parker:  Thank you Mike Parker, KE5CJ, for your endless devotion to your community through ARES and Emergency Communications of more than 650 hours of service to your community.

Mike Parkers Report:

Beginning May 11th the town of Fritch, TX experienced a major wildfire that

burned just outside the city limit. Fritch is located ~40 miles north east of Amarillo. The “Double Diamond” fire started on Sunday, May 11th. Mandatory evacuation of the Lake Meredith Harbor subdivision and the surrounding area including Sanford, began around 4:00 p.m. that day. Approximately 2,100 residents (including myself) were evacuated, many for over three days. Fire Departments large and small came from all around the Texas Panhandle to help fight the blaze. The fire continued throughout the night and into the next day, fueled by high, shifting winds. Hotspots continued to require firefighting attention for the next several days.  Residents were allowed to return beginning on Wednesday, May 14th, although electric and water service weren't completely restored until May 15th. During the 3-day evacuation

period and the subsequent, ongoing recovery and clean-up, radio operators - most of whom also serve the community as emergency responders and/or are involved in provision of essential services and utilities - have been intensely involved in the emergency response such as fighting the fire, providing traffic control and security, assisting displaced fire victims, restoring essential services and assisting with clean-up and debris removal. Actual hours of all ham operators involved are difficult to calculate but are estimated at approximately 650 man-hours. The fire encompassed 2,583 acres and destroyed 228 homes, 147 outbuildings, 118 vehicles and 4 motor-homes. Although radio operators were personally affected in various ways, none lost their homes or equipment. Special thanks to Hutchinson County Emergency Manager Danny Richards (W5WDR) and Carrie Richards (W5CLR), along with numerous entities including American Red Cross, Salvation Army, Christian Disaster Relief, Texas Baptist Men's Group, Excel Energy and many others.


Mike Parker



The Monthly Section Emergency Report for May 2014 can be seen in its entirety by scrolling to the bottom of the West Texas Section Page.  Once there, click on the link for the May SEC Report.

Signature: Howard Collier Call sign: WB5EKW

Title: West Texas Section Emergency Coordinator 



----------------------------------------------------------------------------- Central States VHF Society Sun City ARC K5WPH El Paso ARC W5ES West Texas Rptr Assn, K5ELP New web site in El Paso Big Bend ARC, Alpine TX Midland ARC, Midland TX Lubbock Contest Club United States Skywarn SCARC's WX Sta Flare/MUF info Aurora, sun spots, CMEs Internet Radio Linking Project  Shows status of all reflectors Summits on the Air San Angelo ARC Abilene ARC



Thanks again for all you do for the West Texas Section.  Hope to see you soon. 73,


ARRL West Texas Section

Bill Roberts W5NPR

Section Manager



West Texas Officials